Today was field day in my child's class which meant that all the first graders donned adorable t shirts they had decorated themselves and went off to our local park to play games and have a picnic together. Of course an event like this requires parent help, and I am a good mommy who has her mornings free so I volunteered.
Well, I sort of volunteered. By that I mean I showed up at the school at 9, carried a bag of supplies, helped set up and led some parachute games for one of the groups. Then I taught another mom how to play cat and mouse and got on the subway to go to work, aka the karate school I run.
The kids were split up into about 9-10 teams but I only managed to play with one of them before abandoning my post. The event was supposed to go until 1 or 2. I left at 11.
I am a bad, bad mommy.
I teach karate from 3-6 today. But I left the park at 11 because running parachute games for small children is actually one of the things I do for a living. I left at 11 so I could get to the dojo in time to eat lunch, get dressed and maybe even watch an episode of Parenthood on Netflicks before my classes. I left at 11 because we just got back from two days at Great Wolf lodge where I spent no fewer than four hours running up and down stairs with my kid, hunting for MagiQuest runes. (The app on my husband's phone says he walked five miles. And that was just the first day! Seriously my feet still hurt.)
Sure I could have stayed at the park with the kids until 1:30 and then rushed uptown in time to teach karate. And I might have if it just involved chilling on a blanket with Maya and her buddies. Like, you know, sitting on my butt under a nice shady tree and making friendship bracelets or something. I also might have stayed if today were my day off. But it isn't.
I am a selfish mommy. And this selfishness thing? Today isn't my first infraction. Some mornings I make Maya wait until I finish eating my eggs before getting her another glass of milk. I have been known to tell her to play by herself for half an hour so I can lie down and read a book. I have a herniated disc and when my neck is hurting I sometimes tell her we can only stay at the playground for an hour and a half instead of two.
She is not allowed to get my husband and I out of bed until 7:00am.
Even if she wakes up at 6:30!
Sometimes she asks me to play Legos with her and I say no.
I occasionally make her sit on the side and play while I take jiu-jitsu.
Seriously, the list goes on and on!
And then there was that time she was born. She was in the NICU for two days. After the first night, the nurse said I could of course stay in the hospital again or go home and come back in the morning.
I went home.
I was in labor for two days prior to being admitted. I do not sleep well in hospitals (or hotels, or other people's houses or basically anywhere but my own bed). At that point I had seriously been awake for three days. And I knew I would be taking home a newborn soon.
So I told the nurse I was going to go home to get a good night's sleep.
To which she said, "Good for you for taking care of yourself."
I was back at 8 the next morning and have been a doting mommy ever since. I promise.
So here I am at the dojo, writing this blog post in a quiet, empty room. Soon I may get a sandwich. Being here now, for these two hours, instead of running around in the park, will make me a better teacher this afternoon. Which will make the kids behave better in class. Which will make me a better mama to my daughter later.
See, its all circular. My selfishness has a deeper purpose.
The thing is, I still feel bad. I spent two days riding water slides and seeking fairies and allowing my kid to have donuts for lunch. I spent two hours working for free at her field day this morning. I gave her a really good hug when I left. But I still feel bad that those other mommies stayed and I didn't. Even though I am the only one who has to teach other people's children today. Even though I spend more time with my kid in one day than most of them do in a week. (No judgement, it is not their fault they have full time jobs.)
What is it with these ridiculous expectations that we mommies put on ourselves?
On that note, I am going to go lie down.
Because in addition to being horribly selfish, I am very very lazy.